Off-Belay: Panama – Searching for Cesar

Story and Photos by Carson Bowlin Story telling is deeply woven into the culture of climbing. Every crag has a first, followed by tales of triumphs and innumerable defeats. Traveling with climbing gear allows one to glean these stories, obtaining a key to communities that may otherwise be difficult to access. With surf-softened hands we arrived in Panama. Hard-earned callouses were on their last legs but our resolve was strong to get back on the rock. Two months and over a thousand miles prior, we had received beta in the form of a cellphone photo about a unique rock wall in the heart of Panama. The image depicted sweeping horizontal lines that emerged from thick foliage. We were intrigued, and after a last hurrah of beach fiesta in Bocas del…

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The MSR Gear that Got Eric Larsen to the North Pole

By Eric Larsen On May 6th, my expedition partner Ryan Waters and I reached the geographic North Pole after 53 grueling days. To reach the North Pole from land is a journey of 480 miles in a straight line, but the route is anything but direct. With sea ice moving and shifting due to winds, tides and ocean currents, the surface is constantly in flux. Huge pans of ice collide and crack in a screeching chug, chug, chug sound. There is an overall drift to the ice, too. The entire mass moves slowly from the pole toward Canada, the U.S. and Greenland. In fact, waking up each morning, we were usually quite distraught after checking our GPS—losing up to 3 miles of forward progress while we slept.

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Flashback: The 1970 MSR Climbing Tower

We’ve been looking through the original Mountain Safety Research Newsletter archives (1969-1982) again, and wanted to share this gem from the May 1970 issue announcing the new climbing tower. MSR Founder and newsletter Editor Larry Penberthy—always meticulous about setting the standards of safety through testing—built a tower structure for product testing and made it available to the public. It was free for Mountain Rescue groups, and only $1 per person otherwise. To use it, climbers needed to bring their own ropes and safety equipment, and make sure to follow the safety rules. The May 22nd open house offered a chance to “see (and try) the new belaying techniques” and reservations were requested by phone, so enough “soda pop and cookies” could be provided. To see more of the Mountain Safety Research…

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MSR SUMMER TREKKING POLES WILL CHANGE YOUR EXPECTATIONS OF WHAT A POLE SHOULD BE

Some people are big fans of trekking poles. If you don’t happen to be one of these devotees, or if you have never used summer trekking poles before, here are some great reasons to consider trying them out this summer. Research is beginning to show the benefits of hiking with trekking poles. In a 2010 study conducted by Northumbria University in England and reported on ScienceDaily.com, researchers tested the heart rates, perceived exertion, and muscle damage and function of two groups of hikers—one group using trekking poles and one going unassisted—while hiking Mount Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales. The results showed that trekking poles helped support muscle function and significantly reduced muscle soreness in subsequent days.[1]

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Marilyn Moss’ New Book Explores the Creative Genius of Tent Pioneer of Bill Moss

The Bill Moss Story from Driftwater Productions on Vimeo. Modern camping tent designs owe much to the creative mind and technical ingenuity of 20th century fabric designer and artist Bill Moss. In 1955, Moss was frustrated with the bulky, smelly, hard-to-assemble camp tents of the day. Inspired by nature’s versatile and remarkably efficient designs, Moss fashioned the now-legendary dome “Pop Tent,” redefining tent architecture, and with it, life in the outdoors—gaining a cult following along the way.

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Ode to the Shoulder Season—Skiing and Rock Climbing at Washington Pass

Photos and Story By Leif Whittaker By the middle of May, when winter’s final curtains of snow are pelting the North Cascades and warm afternoons are growing longer each day, we in the Northwest are aching for the full brunt of summer. It has been eight months since we last wore boardshorts and flip-flops. All the ski resorts are closed, but the trailheads and crags are still buried in a thick layer of winter’s residue and it will be another month or two before the highest arêtes and dihedrals are completely dried out. For many of us, the shoulder season is a frustrating interlude between two joyous extremes—deep powder and hot rock. However, as I discovered during a recent trip up Liberty Bell, the shoulder season is not a mere…

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Gear Overview: Elixir 2 Tent

The new Elixir 2 backpacking tent provides the lightweight livability that you have come to love from MSR in a great value. It’s easy to set up and maximizes head and shoulder room. In this video, we give an overview of the new and improved MSR features that make up this tent:

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GETTING THE SHOT: Behind the Scenes on the Hubba Hubba NX Photo Shoot

  By Ryan Hayter At MSR, we strive to not only build great gear but to inspire others to get outside and experience what makes us so passionate about the mountains. Imagery that captures those real moments in the outdoors – whether it’s a breathtaking view, an incredible sunrise or a shared, though silent experience with friends – plays a big role in telling the MSR story and our reason for being.

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Fly Your Tent Down the Freeway

The original Mountain Safety Research Newsletter (1969-1982), written by MSR Founder Larry Penberthy, is always a fascinating read. The newsletters are filled with extensive and technical product testing and mountain safety information. However, Larry and his team were also known to have some fun. One of our favorite features in this vast newsletter archive is the makeshift “wind tunnel” testing report in Issue 7 (April 1973) for the new MSR Mountain Tent. Important performance features of the tent are profiled under the headings “More Room,” “Condensation,” “Doors,” “Ease of Erection,” “Wind Stability,” “Cookholes,” “Materials,” and “Weight.” Within the “Wind Stability” description, the reader is given this glimpse into MSR’s rigorous and fun DIY testing methods. It’s true that Larry was never satisfied until he personally put gear through the ultimate…

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